A long running project

Today marks reaching a major milestone of a personal project I ran for the last 850 days.

Back then my body weight was 116 kg (potentially even higher but I didn’t dare to step on a scale for a couple of years). I was feeling quite okay and I had no health issues. Nevertheless I was pretty concious that we had high blood pressure as a family burden and that being overweighted and not have much exercise might not be that healthy in the long run.

In addition to health, I more and more recalled the times when I was able to ride a bike for a couple of hours and even go up some mountains. I was missing this more and more, just sitting in the office or on the couch at home (okay, I am exaggerating a bit).

Knowing that it is very essential to formulate targets in order to archive them, I set up a “project”.

My target was to loose 40kg of weight (that sounded very ambitious back then). In addition to the target, I defined two rules (for myself):

  1. Loose weight slowly, about 1.5 to 2 kilos per month
  2. Do not do any tricks, meaning that I was planning to change only things that I was willing to change permanently

With these two rules and some tricks I learnt in my project management career, I actually managed to archive that. As of this morning, my body weight is 76 kg resulting in a BMI of about 22.

What did I do?

Okay, so what did I actually do to loose weight, particularly given my rule 2? Well firstly my believe was that it is not possible to loose weight without doing exercise.  Secondly I analysed my nutrition behaviour.

In regards to exercise I came back to one of my old hobbies, cycling. As my wife started running a couple of years back I considered this as well but found that it might not be good to run with over 100 kg. Walking I personally considered as too boring.

I started doing 20 minute sessions on a stationary bike, extending this to up to one hour as of today. At some point I bought a home trainer for my race cycle I had still around. I used the time also to listen to music and podcasts.

About a year ago (weighted 95 kg then), I started running (primarily to spend more time with my wife). I really enjoy doing both cycling and running, even though I had some drawbacks with my calves while running (and might not be able to run a marathon according the docs).

As of today I spend about 5-6 hours a week doing exercise.

Regarding nutrition I actually did not change that much. I eat more conscious that I did in the past. I do not eat as much in some areas (e.g. not a whole bar of chocolate but just 2 or 3 pieces). I continued to eat what I like (even fast food) but eat slightly less. And I mean slightly, as I do not believe in diets and do think that it exposes you to the yo-yo effect. It also helped that my wife – being a professional nutrition consultant – started to cook healthier and more valuable food that is even more tasty in most cases.

What are the lessons learnt?

Looking back, the program went pretty smooth, I more or less lost the weight linearly over the course of more than two years, averaging at 1.5 kg per month.

So I assume that my original ideas and strategies have not been that wrong.

Of course doing all this exercise costs quite some time and I needed to reorganise a couple of things. It also means that I have less time for other stuff that I had before I started. On the other hand I really enjoy cycling and running today. I do regret a bit that I have less time for e.g. photography.

All in all I would say that the quality of life has improved quite a bit since then.

What’s next?

So, having accomplished this milestone for now, what next?

Well, I have recently finished my first run (the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge) and plan do some more. I also have bought both a new mountain bike as well as a new racing bike this spring.

I need to think about a bit more specific goals a bit more (e.g. I want to become faster in both running and cycling, a short triathlon perhaps), but that will be another story.

Well, that is my story for now. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment.